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Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bladerunner6, Jul 13, 2012.
I am thinking more toward lenses but I am also looking at camera bodies from there.
I've had two or three BGN Nikkor AI lenses. While obviously not cosmetically perfect they aren't bad; just a bit of minor wear on the finish. The one BGN camera body (Nikon N90S) was a disappointment - I'd say it's the low end of ugly: Finish a mess and falling off, a couple of small body parts broken and quite a few deep gouges in the plastic, corners knocked off. However I decided to keep it because the cost and hassle of return international shipping wasn't worth it on something priced $50, and to be fair both body and lenses worked faultlessly when I got them and what's still in my possession continues to do so several years later.
Seek and you shall find.
(do a search, there are several very long threads about KEH and people's experience with ugly vs bgn vs ex).
In a nutshell, most folks have been satisfied with their BGN purchases from them, YMMV.
Yes, do a search and read the very long threads. Bottom line, it is a crap shoot (regardless of grade) but, they have a very good return policy. Keep in mind that that KEH grade 35 mm gear on cosmetic ONLY. So, EX mean it looks pretty damnen near new but it may have not so obvious mechnical defects.
It's also very dependent upon your expectations. Are you in a mind set that it just has to work?
I had EX and EX+ grade stuff I wasn't satisfied with. I also had BGN grade stuff I couldn't find any reason why it wasn't graded much higher. I had a discussion with one of KEH rep about this. He explained, it's very subjective so depending on who graded it, grading could vary. It's also a range, so low end of a grade look very different from high end of the same grade.
I have yet to be disappointed with BGN purchase from KEH.
No problems at all with the "bargain grade" camera bodies I have purchased to date: In April 2005, I purchased a bargain grade 500c/m; last July - after six-plus years of heavy use - I took it in for its first CLA. In June 2008, I picked up a bargain grade chrome Nikon F2AS. The camera was put to immediate use (shooting Kodachrome) without prior testing; the camera continues to be a part of my travel arsenal (now shooting E100G); it has yet to require any servicing. And, lastly, in May 2009, I purchased a 553el/x; again, no servicing has been required to date.
While I might have reservations about buying "bargain grade" glass, I would not hesitate for a moment to pick up any "bargain grade" cameras or accessories. So what if the stuff (occasionally) does not look pretty, cameras are meant as tools, not as prized possessions to covet and sit on display...
There are so many practically identical threads already about KEH....
i've been buying bargain grade gear from KEH since about 1996
large format lenses, as well as p/s cameras, regular 35mm
and pc lenses and i have never had a bad experience.
I have great experience with BGH fron KEH.
I usually only buy LN and EX condition equipment from KEH; however, I was very pleased with the one BGN lens I bought from KEH.
I have never bought BGN from KEH. I once bought UGLY and it was, but it worked. I usually stick to LN and EX and I have always been happy. Well, one polarizing filter was scratched and I got a much better one in exchange.
For the most part, I have had great luck with KEH, but I do find it is not an exact scale. In terms of glass, I usually buy EX or higher so it is easier to re-sell it if I choose to do so down the road. But I did buy a BGN lens recently, a Fujinon A 240mm F/9. It looks mint except that there is a barely noticeable coating haze on a third of the front element, testing revealed a tiny bit of flare in the most severe of sun angles. Then I had to return a EX lens that had a tiny but deep scratch in the front element and a sticky shutter ring, they gladly took it back.
Other than that, you can get good stuff from them, the return policy makes it a stress-free proposition.
Experience with KEH Bargain?
Pretty good when I'm looking for a repair project. Seriously. Sometimes the defect that leads to a BGN designation is easily corrected or insignificant. For example a BGN large format lens that is otherwise mint except for some internal haze that can be removed.
Or a Topcor 210mm Large format lens rated BGN for $100 that is mint except for a few faint swirl scratches so faint that I can't even photograph them to show and a stiff aperture ring that was cleaned in 15 seconds after removing the two screws.
Sometimes it is a mystery. I got an unexpected non-fixable problem in a BGN 90mm Topcor Large Format lens that was one-dollar-per-millimeter ($90). The lens elements were severely separated. I still made a worthwhile project: http://www.largeformatphotography.i...T-way-to-solve-lens-separation&highlight=90mm
Another mystery solved was the BGN $90 Topcor 150mm Large Format lens connected to the 300mm converter mounted on lensboard. The lensboard ears were bent and easily bent back to shape. The 150mm lens had an pristine shutter and pristine glass. There were moderate dings on the rear filter ring. That lens turns out to be the sharpest 4x5 lens I own. The 300mm converter was OK. It is a complex design with 7 elements and 14 surfaces. It was foggy and all 14 surfaces cleaned OK except for a single surface which had residual mild-to-moderate fog. I think it works fine, but I have no way to test it against a converter with all 14 surfaces clean. : http://www.largeformatphotography.i...Extension-Back&p=851820&viewfull=1#post851820
Lastly, I got a BGN Fujinon 250mm lens for 8x10. I have had the lens 3 years and can't find any defect beyond 'brassing' from the lens caps. I thought I wasn't holding it to the light at the right angle to see some scratch or fog but it really is pristine. The price was not-so-bargain at $475 so maybe it was just under-graded.
I always buy bgn from them! and never disappointed with my buy!!!! even took a chance a bought a mamiya 80mm 1.9 on ugly and to be honest its in really great shape.
Best deal going.
KEH is always a better bet than junkbay, apples to apples the condition and function is better. I have a couple of bodies that were described as ex or nearly mint I bought off ebay that would barely make bgn at KEH.
It was some years ago, but it was good; several cameras and lenses. I was happy with everything. They were the guys I trusted the most. I don't know how it is today.
I only purchased one prism for my F3 in BGN condition from KEH; it looked really rough. I have purchased many EX. EX+ and LN- bodies and lenses from KEH; it is hit or miss with them. Some items look better than others within the same category.
I've made more purchases from KEH that were EX or better, but have bought Bargain items that were in decent, usable, if less than pretty, shape. I bought a LN lens that was still in the original clear plastic in the box that it probably came in. I got a BGN lens that has a bit of a loose aperture ring so the larger apertures are a bit off the mark but it works for me, I just find myself counting the clicks.
There does seem to be a range with any type ratings I think; but at least KEH ratings seem reasonably consistent compared to the Bay where sellers' definitions of condition seem to be whatever they want to call it.
Bought one bgn grade lens from keh after several ex and ex+ ones. Zero complaints on the bgn one and it may have cost more than all of my other glass purchases combined, and may even be more than everything else combined. A couple of small marks on the barrel, with perfect glass. Two thumbs up.
BGN stuff always has faults. Sometimes, they're tolerable; sometimes, they're not.
I've done well with BGN bodies, less so with BGN lenses. But when possible I buy EX or higher now.
I would not count that each BGN = EX like condition, especially for more popular items where they have a lot in stock.
However If you can accept that BGN most likely wont be in EX cosmetic condition (but you may be lucky), you have 14 days to return it and I think that return shipping is free of charge if the item is defective.
Plus you have 6 month warranty.
BGN bodies typically can vary. The two BGN grade F4's I've owned have been somewhat worn. One of them did have a mode switch issue that they gave me a $30 price adjustment, since I had no guarantee that the replacement body would be a later body, less likely to be flaky. The other works perfectly, just has some wear on the dials, etc, and the body finish isn't matte black anymore, instead, it's rather shiny. I've also owned a BGN grade F2A that, except for a couple tiny dings, would be very close to what I'd think they would call EX grade. Very tiny amount of brassing.
Lately, I've been enjoying buying AS IS gear off their eBay page. Got a lot of six supposedly dead Nikkormat FT's and Nikomat FTn's. Only one was truly dead. The rest did fire, and two FTn's had properly working light meters as well. Kept those, and got rid of the rest. One will be used as a donor camera for my Nikomat FT2 that needs an overhaul, and the other is loaded up with a roll of Ektar 100 as I type this.